adherence 7 cisco called the environmental deaf -- they were from a think tank out here in san francisco called the environmental economic fund. are there any economist in the room? you know what they say about economists. and they are really good with numbers, but they lack the personality to become engineers. [laughter] .
>> most importantly, by the time my little brother came along, all our home town beach was free of dead fish. overcoming this syndrome is all about listening. if we think we know the answer, would close off all these avenues of exploration. let's go back a few years ago to something to all experience here. in the 1990's, california had a problem. the economy was in a slump. in part it was because of high energy prices.
governor wilson and the legislature had an idea. what if we replace public monopolies in the competitive market with the goal of innovation and cost savings? it was not a fundamentally crazy idea. the regulation was largely successful in the airline industry's in the 1970's. it all depends on how it was designed. the design of the new electricity market was really quite simple. power generators had to divest themselves of transmission lines. the old monopoly generators -- the generators were prohibited -- did you get that? not many people really understood how the new system would work, including most of
the legislators. do you know who figured out how the whole system would work? enron and a few other firms understood the new system better than the system's creators and better than the regulators. enron soon figured out how to profit from the loopholes in the design, using schemes with kid names like ricochet, fat boy, and death star. it would send it back over the grid to oregon at a higher price and make a huge profit for doing nothing at all, because electricity travels at the speed of light. in the summer of 2000, the crisis hit. you know how the story goes from here. you all lived through it. there was a heat wave. it bought -- it got up to about 109 degrees in san jose, the
highest temperatures ever seen. energy demand shot up and the lights went out. the weird phenomenon of global black out became a feature of life in california. in silicon valley, they had the electricity supply of a third world nation. they are using electricity generated by people on a bicycle. billions of dollars were lost by consumers and the state. governor gray davis was kicked out of office. how did such a bill become law? that is where the process gets really scary. why? because it was an exemplary
process. they had hearings and meetings and visited other jurisdictions with bipartisan cooperation. they worked until late at night. they did such a good job at the law passed unanimously, 98-0. as you know, nothing passes california legislature unanimously. nobody voted against it. the problem was the legislation. they did not design it to work in the real world. they thought there were crafting a bill that could pass, and they wanted to see as many votes as they could get. they put in a lot of stuff to make everybody happy. the problem was, the different parts did not work together in the system. the design would not hold up. california's electricity deregulation points to a big factor behind many governments failures.
it actually lies at the design space. the. only 16% said the federal government actually designs policies that can be implemented. similar results when we surveyed members of a senior executive service. it is not always easy to get them animated. all you need to do is ask them about the policy design process. policy designed at the federal level is pathetic. there is a gap between communication and understanding. it is done without implementation considerations. there is a big problem here. what is the cause of this? the civil servants will say it is the politicians. the politicians will say it is the bureaucrats. what we found actually was that
neither one is the case. the problem is the gap between the two that has actually gotten better in recent years. this wall of separation -- severson tech -- the wall of separation which was iis betweeo designed and those to implement it. the real goal is way down the line. nowhere is it more apparent than in the quest for energy independence. in 1974, president ford signed a law that energy policy and innovation act. by 1980, imports of oil were higher than 1973. in 1978, president carter signed the national energy act.
the goal was to add 20% of all the energy we use from the sun by the end of the 20 century. we did not quite get to 20%. in 2005, president bush signed the energy policy act with the goal of economic security. the result, the act of 2007. getting through the legislature is a milestone, but you do not get the ticker-tape parade until the results actually roll in. if you forget this, you will end up drowning in the river of failure. that is not a place that you want to be. our next phase is implementation. the biggest threat in this phase is over confidence. this often occurs when really smart, capable people become
overconfident of their ability and failed to prepare for all the risks. i am sorry, i just could not resist that. implementing complex public initiatives is a lot tougher than it looks. the key to avoiding failure is to take failure seriously. anyone who has ever done a rehab on your house knows that an estimate of $15,000.30 weeks means that actually you should take out a loan for $40,000 and moved in with your in-laws. that is how to be successful in this initiative. let me give you a quick story. if you are like me, a few things are more frustrating than sitting in traffic.
economists have been talking about congestion pricing for decades. no one wants to actually paid for the roads. the result is that numerous cities talked about the congested charge for decades, but no one had actually done it. london was one of those cities. by the 1990's, traffic was so bad that traffic in london was moving at the same speed as when they had carriages in the victorian age. the convergence of events occurred to change the political dynamic. the most important was the election of a new mayor. he is unapologetically a man of the left. he counts fidel castro and you
ochoa's as among his closest friends. -- hugo chavez. livingston had the most unlikely profile you could imagine of a candidate. there are many ways this thing could blow out. think about the times it has been proposed in san francisco. the initiative would impact a lot of people's lives. had to be done all at once, not street by street, and it had never been done before on this scale anywhere. political of visor's said don't do it, because if it did not work, he could kiss the next term goodbye. the media said it would be an unmitigated disaster.
a rabbi in the guardian newspaper said my synagogue was bombed during the war, but livingston is going to do more damage than the germans. but he did not panic. what he did was, he took failure seriously. he had to take a lot of extraordinary steps to make sure it went well. they tested the plan and test it again. there were fanatical about mapping out every single risk. they did some more games of everything that could go wrong. two weeks before the launch, they had a dry run. they wanted to put the control room to the test. they would get calls all day long to respond to potential crises. the day of war games started at 7:00 a.m.. the team had just sat down for coffee and suddenly a call comes in.
a major traffic accident has called a huge bottleneck. the team is ready for it. because entering the zone at a detour side or electronically flag and they will not charge. communications between the cameras and a hub are broken down and there is no way the target will come into the zone. again, they are ready for it. they have a backup computer system. someone has jumped off tower bridge. it would like that all day long. they were ready for it and were able to handle everything that was thrown at them. just in case, before the launch they said a woman named kate who was sadly one of my colleagues to walk the entire route, 26 miles, armed with a pin and a piece of paper. her assignment was to make sure that nothing was going to happen on the road network without them knowing about it.
it is 5:30 a.m. the day of the launch. mayor livingston steps out and flash, he is mobbed by photographers. they all want a picture of the mayor on the day they believe will be his waterloo, but they did not end in disaster, it ended in triumph. everything went smoothly. there's not a single glitch. the streets were nearly quiet that day. remember the doom and gloom headlines? here are the headlines from the day after the launch. he tell me those headlines were one of the best days of his life. he knew it could have a tragic ending. as he put it, nothing in public life had turned out better than hoped for until now. this goes into the last phase of
the journey. that is the results phase. that means we are near the end of the speech. recall the greek myth about sisyphus pressing a rock up the hill. those who work in government know, and some of you over there know the public sector hill is really tough. i have worked in government, the i have worked in government, the private8jt sector, and the hill0 who are deeply skilled at navigating the public sector to rein. i like to think of these people
as kind of like the indiana jones of government. when they seek the golden idol who is just there and looks like they can grab, they look around for the poison dart. the white does not look very much like indiana jones. -- dwight does not look much like indiana jones. he was one of those unsung heroes. he worked at a senior level for seven consecutive american presidents. he is now in his 80's, and the pictures on his wall are pictures of great people in history. he helped eisenhower write the
nuclear test ban treaty. he was there when kennedy signed it. he was the guy that lbj turned to for the alaska earthquake recovery. it was the biggest earthquake in north american history. dwight told me he was watching the news of the earthquake at home with his wife. two days later he got a call from lbj and he said he was going to alaska. he helped johnson also create the department of housing and launched the war on poverty. he was in charge of the new federalism for richard nixon and civil service reform for jimmy carter. ronald reagan came in and actually put the whitdwight in .
he was kidnapped once by colombian drug lords while leading the war on drugs in the state department. soon after he retired. one story i love about dwight, he was in a meeting when kennedy was first elected. they did not have the national security council. he was sitting in on the limited nuclear test ban treaty. in that meeting, arthur schlesinger was there, the president's historian, very close to the kennedy family. dwight was arguing for the limited nuclear test ban treaty, and schlesinger was arguing against it. they got into really heated argument, and after the meeting, dwight went back and tendered his resignation.
he peered they would not want him around any longer. -- figured they would not want him around any longer. the funny thing was, during the meeting, who was looking over -- he was looking over and realize that bobby kennedy was watching. he thought he would have to have another career and go into the private sector. actually, he went back, and he was invited back to the next meeting. arthur schlesinger was gone, and dwight was there. what that story shows us is the importance of courage and speaking up for what you believe in. our nation faces very serious challenges today. the difficulty we have been having actually tackling these challenges. there is only one way out of this predicament. it is to choose wisely which policies to pursue an execute
them effectively. i hope we are a little better able to navigate the process of making government better so we can all have a better future. thank you very much. [applause] >> our thanks to william eggers, co-author of the book. thanks for your comments this evening. my name is joe epstein. i am a past chair on the board of governors, and i will be moderating tonight's audience question period. we have a lot of questions here for you, and we are about to begin. many of the questions addressed your new book's central theme,
that being the process of ideas through implementation. let me begin with this question. how would you rate the obama campaign for its design and implementation strategies during the election process of 2008? >> that is a great question. i actually wrote the whole thing that did not make it into the book about how the campaign actually performed from the standpoint of execution. it was one of the most flawlessly executed campaigns. the head their idea and they stuck to that idea. in terms of bringing in a lot of people, to help them execute that, and in the face of some hard things, they stuck with it. the campaign really kept their
eye on the goals in the end. from an execution standpoint, it was really a model. nor government initiatives -- if war government initiatives operated like that, it would be easy. it is of being a big barrier to doing things that seamlessly. >> let's talk about the marshall plan. you write a lot about it and it is a quintessential example that you use. you refer to it as an example of a successful government program. might not be obama stimulus plan be a modern-day version of the marshall plan, but this time actually for us? >> i have not all of it that way. on the marshall plan, what was interesting about it was that when the marshall plan was first proposed, as a lot of you my remarkmight remember, it was not
terribly popular. the public was split. what was interesting about how they did it was that rather than try to ram it through, what they did was allow for a lot of thoughtful legislative debates, and they sent a lot of the senators and others who were not quite convinced it was the right thing to europe to actually take a look at it. they also had a big public relations campaign where they would do town hall meetings and went across america to try to make the case for this. it was a huge effort. there were buttons and everything involved at that time. it was an exemplary process for how to go about that. when you look at these major initiatives, there are few
successful initiatives that we found that actually were done on a strictly partisan basis. you had bipartisan cooperation and the majority of the american people behind it. hawke >> what are the back -- the best managed government programs? >> a lot of ranting and raving is done on the radio. we have had a lot of failures. we have had some real successes in the last 30 years. people looked at me sometimes like i am a crazy person. we have actually had some really good successes. let's look at a few of them. one of them was acid rain reduction, a great in purnell success. another one was crime reduction. in american cities we have seen
7% reductions in crime over the last 15 years. that was due to really strong execution. welfare reform was of a bipartisan initiative between president clinton, republican congressman, and also the states were involved. a huge reduction, a lot of people got into work. it had already been tried in the states like wisconsin, wyoming, and cities. the person who drafted the bill said we are just riding the wave now. they gave a lot of flexibility to states for have the cat actually implemented. that is a good model -- how they can actually implement it.
>> how does one best regulate big government without increasing the size of the bureaucracy? is that even possible? >> regulate the government? regulating government is one of our big problems to date. if you were one of the senior executives that i talked about, you are faced with so many rules and regulations and constraints on how to manage. when we did our survey, we ask, what is the biggest reason we are having problems today? they said partisanship and other areas. all the administrative rules and constraints and everything that make it impossible to actually do anything if you are in government. we have made that hill for sisyphus of lot steeper than it actually was. what we need to do is the
regulate the government allots -- deregulate the government a lot. those of you work in the private sector, if you had the same kind of constraints, you would find it incredibly frustrating. we need to take steps to remove a lot of those. >> let's identify ourselves. you are listening to the commonwealth club of california radio program. our guest today is william eggers, author and commentator, who is discussing when government works and when government does not work. here is an example, in my opinion, about the tsa. after 9/11, the transportation security administration was established to inspect it -- to ensure the security of air travel. how would you rate the tsa?
was it designed and implemented effectively, in your opinion? >> sometimes you mentioned tsa in polite company, and everyone has a story to tell. charitably, it was not exactly known for its customer service in its first few years. it is interesting, we talk about tsa in the book, because there is a positive story. a new director came in several years after it had been in operation named kip hawley. with 55,000 screeners there, there have to be a lot of them with really good ideas for how to make things easier for all of you when you go through the screening process, while keeping us say. right now, there is no way for him to get through all the layers of management. he was trying to find a way to reach down and get the ideas from individual screeners, which
is a wonderful thing to do. he came up with something called the idea factory. using collaboration technology and the internet, they put something up that allow any tsa employee to submit ideas for improving operations and making customer service better. a lot of agencies have ideas suggestion boxes that do not go any place. now they could not only submit the ideas, but other employees would get to vote on whether they were good ideas or not and participate in the debate. kip axle was there participating in the forums. over time, a lot of the ideas actually became adopted. if any of you have ever been through airport security where they have diamond lanes and black planes, that came from this idea factory. they also had another one called simply job switching. dozens of ideas coming from the
front line are actually implemented at tsa, and it has made it a much better agency. it is a wonderful example of how to break through the syndrome by reaching out to a much more diverse group of people to come up with good ideas. >> i have a real-life example myself in terms of the tolstoy'' syndrome. i was recently visiting a customer in heavy construction business. he had several pictures of a big big on his office wall. -- a big dig. i think that tolstoy's syndrome is seeing only the possibilities that you want to see.
he proceeded to tell me he had worked for three years on the big dig project at a very high level. i saw what you wrote in the book which was very interesting. could you elaborate on that as an example of the tolstoy syndrome? >> if any of you have been to boston, you know about the big dig, one of our biggest urban infrastructure projects ever. it was supposed to cost a couple of million dollars and the federal government put in a lot of the money. it ended up having huge cost overruns and took decades to actually finish. that actually had a collapsing tunnel that ended up killing a woman. it was a pretty horrendous process overall. one of the problems was that they were actually standing mostly federal money. when your spending other
people's money, those cost overruns and other things in that occurring. it was called the case of the red herring bold. a bold kept slipping, and they kept on misdiagnosing why they were slipping. they did not look at obvious. they could only see it in a certain way. basically, over time, it ended up in the collapsing of the tunnel. what occurred with the big dig was simply the notion of, they wanted to see it in a certain way and refuse to look at alternative viewpoints and see it differently. a lot of infrastructure projects we looked at had massive cost overruns and massive problems. we need to spend a lot of time figuring how to do those better. one of the things we found is that the more the money tends to come from the locality itself, the more efficiently they are
done. >> the next question has to do is comparing china's former government to ours. china's form of government has been referred to as authoritarian capitalism. how would you compare their former of capitalism to ours? which form of capitalism can take ideas and then implement the most effectively? >> that is an interesting question. before we tunnel -- title the book, it was originally called a " mussolini's cursed." everyone used to say that mussolini could make the trains run on time. that is actually a bit of a myth, that that actually happen. it is this longing we often have in times like these when everything seems to be going wrong and everyone is screaming
at each other, we have that longing for this more authoritarian form of government, where they are just going to get things done. remember during the olympics, that bill all these incredible projects fairly quickly -- they build all these incredible project fairly quickly. articles were saying, why cannot we as a democracy do it that well and as quickly? it is a big reason why we wrote that book. we do believe that we can be successful. it will always be a little tougher. there'll always be more political obstacles and more debate, but that is the price. we would not give up the freedom to actually have the debate for that deficiency. >> the government is spending more and more on washington- based consultants, and the role
of lobbyists has also been extremely active. they are doing this as more government projects get initiated. what do you think about this? >> as a consultant, i think it is a wonderful, very smart thing to do. i did write another book dealing with this issue about governing by network. the complexity of our problems today means that whether it is a private company, the government, or any organization, when you look at a lot of the big things we got done over time, they were not done by one agency or another. they are done by a network of different agencies and often by university scientists and others. the manhattan project actually had over 50,000 academics,
scientists, researchers who are non-government. there were only 5000 government officials. when we decided to put a man on the moon, nasa was really small. there is no way nasa would be able to realize putting a man on the moon without a lot of people. they had to go into academic areas, as scientific contractors and consultants, and bring the men. over time, about 69,000 were actually employed to help realize that goal of putting a man on the moon. over time, they were able to quickly scaled back again. there is a lot of benefit for using people from the outside who have done these projects time and time again. >> one of my earlier questions had to do with comparing the marshall plan to the obama
stimulus plan. here is a follow-up to that. in a time of economic despair and while we are in a recession, are you in favor of government expansion and even more stimulus spending? >> what we do in the books, we take a process look at government in general. the question is about the role of government and what it should do in the first place. that is a really important question and answer. if you do not answer that, then a lot of the other does not make sense. we try to address the second question, which is what -- wants to decide what to do, how you actually executed? it does not matter whether you are a liberal who want universal health care or your a conservative who wants to make government smaller and have school vouchers and other things. execution is really important. i have been working in
government reform for over two decades now. believe me, i have been involved in many examples of actually trying to find cost savings in government, trying to trim agencies. one thing i can tell you is that actually making government smaller is a lot harder than it actually launching a new program. too often, people who believe that governments should be smaller and not spend enough time thinking about that. they want to just come up with an idea and toss it over the wall. when it doesn't work, they blame it on the bureaucrats. it is really important for people on both sides of the aisle to understand how government really works and get out of the notion of the blame game. >> you are listening to the commonwealth club of california radio program. our guest is william eggers,
discussing when government works and when it does not. in the book, you talk about how general macarthur to charge in japan after the surrender. for six years, macarthur was successful in integrating the civilian and military leadership. can you compare this to the role that paul bremer played after the fall of saddam hussein in iraq? >> we did look at iraq when we wrote this book, because how can you not look at it? in terms of iraq, we actually fell into a number of the traps that we talk about in the book. one of those traps was told story syndrome. when the decision was finally made to go in, and looking at
reconstruction, what they failed to do, a lot of people in the state department and elsewhere have a lot of knowledge and were looking at this for many years who argued about all the things that could go wrong and all the different problems and possibilities. what happened was that a lot of the administration did not want to hear contrary voices, and they were then shut out of the process. one guy named tom warwick was infamous leaked kicked off the team by rumsfeld. that was a very big problem there. they did more war gaming in terms of looking it then we did and looking at the after raft -- aftermath of iraq.
we learned a lot of lessons from iraq from an execution standpoint. one thing we then have to say is with the surge, we have another thing called a re-evaluation phase that we did not talk about. looking at it over time and seeing whether it works or not. in this case, they did a really good job of reevaluating what was working and not working in iraq. in some of the provinces you had some really terrific general's and other soldiers who were basically using this method. i think there are some real problems there, but in the end, there was the surge that could
overcome a lot of the problems they fell into initially. >> this is such a short question with a huge possibility of answers. maybe you can highlight an answer here. how can health care reform be effectively implemented? >> i will try to keep it really short. the health care reform, what it illustrates is actually one of the biggest issues, the biggest conundrums we face today. for healthcare reform to happen, two things need to occur. first, you need to get the bill passed congress, and secondly, you actually need to have a plan that will work in the real world. in some cases, those two things actually end up contradicting each other. what happens with a lot of legislative bills is that to get
enough support, you end up having to add a lot to it and changed the design around and put in a lot of extra things into the bill that you might not have wanted. that is one of the issues where fake -- we are facing with health care. they are trying to get it through and trying to get the number of votes. the big question is whether it will actually work in the real world. that is the most important question. if you do not have a success -- you do not have a success just by getting the bill passed. it will not actually be implemented until 2014 or 2015. it is very early to say. you can find some aspects -- they will do some pilot projects. they have innovation centers they are thinking about.
you don't know how exactly hell lot of this is going to work in the real world. with welfare reform, one of the things we did know, it had been tried in a lot of the states before that actually passed a welfare reform bill. >> what do you see government doing to better work with industry? both small business and big business. >> when you look at most of these big initiatives today, they are not just government alone. government is involving contractors and independence and academics in it. the key skill you need as a public official is the ability to do that. i think we have some great examples. the person who helped get us to the moon was a guy named james
webb. he was the head of nasa when president kennedy announced this. what he did, he had to basically find a way to work with industry, a lot of the defense contractors and space companies to figure out a way to call them all together. one of the funny things when you look at the aircraft that was going up, it was actually put together with low bids in the end, which is a little bit scary. we need to move away from ideological fight about whether we should privatize or not, or more government or less government. with almost all these initiatives, you have partnerships between the public and private sectors. more closely together they can work, the more public value you
can create. weather is infrastructure here in california, where the public sector does not build much of the infrastructure, they need to do more in the public-private partnership. >> i hate to see the program end, but we only have time for one last question. in your judgment, what is your judgment on al gore's reinventing government programs of the late 1990's? >> the reinventing government program was based of a program that i had an opportunity to manage for several years. it had a lot of wonderful aspects to it. one of the things the program did was try to create innovation in a lot of different federal agencies. they had awards that would give
for people who did innovation. a lot of time and attention went into it the first couple of years. one of the overall issues, it did not end up radically reforming the federal government. one of the reasons is that this step is not very sexy, the things we have talked about. what happens is, politicians and others kind of lose interest after the first couple of years and move on to something else. when that happens, the interest wanes a little bit in these programs. i believe this is absolutely critical. the most important government issue we have today, and when you think about california and where the state is at an the troubled state has had, the very difficult nature of the state,
for the next governor of california, this notion of making government work better and restructuring it, there cannot be more important issue. i would just hope that it becomes part of the campaign debate. >> something we do not always do at the commonwealth club, but i want to thank all of those in the audience for the wonderful questions you submitted. special thanks go to william eggers, co-author of the book. we also thank the audience that is here and on the radio, television, and the internet. the program has been part of the american values series. i am joe epstein, and this meeting of the commonwealth club of california, where you are in the know, is adjourned. [applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2009]
historians on our 16th president. from $56, journalists, and writers, from his early years in the white house and his relevance today. now in digital audio to listen to any time, available or digital audio downloads are sold. >> recently, secretary of state hillary clinton laid out the obama administration's human- rights approach during a speech at georgetown university. topics include efforts to address human rights abuses in russia and china. this is an hour. >> the honorable caroline kessner and the hon. hillary rodham
clinton, secretary of state for the united states. [applause] >> their students, faculty, and staff, it is my honor to welcome you to the human rights agenda for the 21st century, with secretary of state hillary clinton. december 10 mark the international human rights day. we are reminded of the historical drafting of the international declaration of human rights. a simple, yet powerful statement that we were entering a new era in which genocide, torture, and other crimes against humanity
would not be tolerated. i have had the unique opportunity to take a course on the human rights culture founded upon this universal declaration. our course observed that the past six decades have paid a rather different picture. since the holocaust, impassioned cries have never again fallen upon deaf ears. although identifying a responsibility to protect, the international community remains and negligent in dressing crisis like that in the condo. financial giants continue to line their pockets as the impoverished world try to put food on their tables and clothes on their backs. nevertheless, the human rights culture thrives on the support from various actors such as celebrities and ngo's, and georgetown has played its part.
it will require champions like secretary clinton. i am especially honored that secretary and will deliver her address and human rights here at georgetown university. [applause] john is the president of georgetown university. the university has completed a $1 billion capital campaign, significantly increased student financial aid, and strengthened endowments for faculty research. he also helped expand
georgetown's initiatives such as emerging economies. he is a member of the council on foreign relations. he is a board member of the national association of independent colleges and universities. most recently he was honored in 2008 at the washingtonian. [applause] >> it is my pleasure to welcome all of you here this afternoon. it's an honor to have with us the united states secretary of state, hillary rodham clinton to discuss the human rights agenda for the 21st century. in this new century, no nation can achieve its lowest potential if any segment of the
population -- is the list of potential if anyone is disenfranchised and their skills are ignored, it their potential and promise is squandered. at a time when nations are increasingly interdependent and interconnected, the situation in any one nation affects every nation in the global community. for nearly four decades in various roles, secretary clinton has been a champion for the cause of human rights. a champion of human dignity, human worth, both here and abroad for the neediest and most vulnerable and most wounded in our midst. she has long been a voice for the voiceless and powerless, most especially women and children. her acclaimed speech in beijing in 1995, where she declared that human rights are women's rights, and women's rights are human rights, not only helped inspire and galvanize women
throughout the global community, it is now considered a milestone event in the history of the struggle for universal human rights. the last time the secretary was here with us was in 2004, when then senator clinton joined senator jack reed and other distinguished guests for a conference on national security in the military reserve. hillary rodham clinton now serves as 67 united states secretary of state. predecessors include thomas jefferson, james madison, james monroe, daniel webster, george marshall, and of course, madeleine albright. when she was secretary of state, madeleine worked together with secretary clinton to launch the federal government's model voices democracy initiative, and today vital voices is a
nonprofit organization that works to train and organize women leaders from around the world. before being appointed to work current position by president obama, secretary clinton served as a united states senator from new york, where she was a strong advocate for the expansion of economic opportunity and access to health care. prior to that, she was first lady for eight years and worked -- on many issues relating to children and families, especially health care, leading a successful bipartisan effort to provide care to millions of children through the children's health program. her biography is also one of firsts. the first first lady to hold a law degree, the first sitting first lady to be elected to the senate, or any public office. the first woman to win statewide election in new york, the first woman to win a presidential state primary, and the first first lady to ever win a grammy.
[laughter] that was for her ground- breaking audio recording of her book ago children, it takes a village." her thoughtful and thought- provoking remarks resonate with us at georgetown in our catholic and jesuit heritage by promoting social justice. it is my honor to introduce the united states secretary of state, the hon. hillary rodham clinton. [applause]
>> thank you it is wonderful being back here at georgetown in this wonderful cast and hall, and to give you something to do during exam week. [laughter] it is one of those cause i- legitimate reasons for taking a break, which i am very happy to have provided. i want to thank chaz for his introductory remarks. those of you in the foreign service her reflections of the extraordinary opportunities it is to be here. it is an honor to be delivering this speech at georgetown because there is no better place than this university to talk about human rights.